How to Deal with Tooth Sensitivity

Have you ever taken a sip of a cold drink and felt a sudden jolt of pain in your teeth? If so, you are not alone. According to WebMD, “1 in 8 adults may have sensitive teeth” with “young adults, women and people who had receding gums or did at-home tooth whitening” experiencing tooth sensitivity the most.

But, knowing that you are suffering like others doesn’t make tooth sensitivity any easier. You likely don’t want to give up ice cream or hot coffee, two things that can make your teeth feel a sharp twinge. Most likely, you are desperate to understand what causes teeth sensitivity to come and go, as well as ways to treat the issue.

We’re here to help. As a Houston dental practice, we commonly treat patients dealing with sensitive teeth. There are tried and true ways to treat tooth sensitivity, but before you can treat your teeth, a dentist needs to examine your teeth to identify what is causing the tooth sensitivity issues in the first place.

Why You May Be Experiencing Tooth Sensitivity

There are several different reasons why you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity. The Mayo Clinic explains, “Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort is caused by other factors, such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease.” Let’s take a look at some of the things that can make your teeth feel extra sensitive.

  • Your enamel has worn away. The enamel on your teeth is a protective barrier layer. The American Dental Association explains, “In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.” Dentin is where the nerves lie, so if it is exposed, then your teeth will be sensitive.
  • You are consuming too many acidic foods and drinks. Acidic food and drinks, such as sugary treats and carbonated sodas, can wear down the enamel on your teeth.
  • You grind your teeth. If you grind your teeth when you are stressed, you are likely grinding away the enamel.
  • You have been bleaching or whitening your teeth. If you have been using at-home tooth whitening kits, then you may experience tooth sensitivity. This is so common that there is even a warning on the whitening kits.
  • You have a cracked tooth. If you have a crack in your tooth, it can reach the root. This will result in feeling pain when the tooth is cold or hot.
  • Your gums are receding. If your gums start pulling away (either from age or from gum disease), it leads to your teeth’s roots being exposed. Again, if this happens, your teeth will be sensitive.

Common Treatment Options for Sensitive Teeth

Fortunately, there are many different treatment options that can help ease the pain from sensitive teeth. Ultimately, the appropriate treatment will depend on how severe your teeth sensitivity is, but you may not need to do much. Here are some of the basic treatment options for sensitive teeth.

  • You should maintain regular oral hygiene practices. First, like all dental issues, you have to start with basic oral hygiene. You should brush and floss daily. However, if you have sensitive teeth, you need to pay attention to how you brush. Use a soft-bristled brush and don’t brush too hard.
  • You should use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. There are a variety of kinds of toothpaste that are designed for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne.
  • You may need fillings. If you have a cracked tooth, then a dentist may fill it. This filling should remedy tooth sensitivity.
  • A dentist can apply a fluoride treatment. Your Houston dentist may choose to apply fluoride to your sensitive teeth. It will help reduce pain and strengthen tooth enamel. If the pain is more severe, your Houston dentist may recommend a prescription fluoride to use at home.
  • A dentist can apply a desensitizing treatment. The Mayo Clinic claims, “Occasionally, exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces. A local anesthetic might be needed.”
  • You may need to wear a mouthguard. If you grind your teeth when you sleep, a mouthguard can be an effective way to protect your teeth.

More Serious Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

Unfortunately, some individuals have severe tooth sensitivity and need more serious procedures. This is why it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your Houston dentist – sensitive teeth can be a sign that there is something more serious going on.

  • You may need a root canal. If other treatments do not provide relief, then your dentist may suggest a root canal. The Mayo Clinic offers, “While this might seem like a significant treatment, it’s considered the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.”
  • You may need a surgical gum graft. If your tooth sensitivity is due to gum issues, then you may need to have a surgical gum graft. This involves taking a small amount of gum tissue from a different part of your mouth and attaching it to the area, causing tooth sensitivity.
  • You may need an inlay. Inlays are used when there is a bacterial infection of the tooth, and the tooth structure is no longer strong enough to support a filling. This is a simple two-part dental procedure.

Greenspoint Dental Provides Restoration Dental Care for Houston Patients

Since tooth sensitivity can signify serious issues, you should schedule an appointment with the dental care team at Greenspoint Dental before the pain worsens. At Greenspoint Dental, we offer general dentistry to address issues with tooth sensitivity, as well as restorative dentistry services, such as gum and periodontal treatment. Whether your tooth sensitivity issues can be addressed with a one-time appointment or you need more specialized treatments, our dental care team will provide the highest-quality care.